Politics & Government

Special judge needed in rape case against former UK board chairman

Billy Joe Miles during a University of Kentucky Board of Trustees meeting at UK’s Patterson Office Tower in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday Feb. 22, 2011.
Billy Joe Miles during a University of Kentucky Board of Trustees meeting at UK’s Patterson Office Tower in Lexington, Ky., on Tuesday Feb. 22, 2011. palcala@herald-leader.com

A special judge will be appointed to hear the rape case against former University of Kentucky Board of Trustees chairman Billy Joe Miles of Owensboro.

The two regular circuit judges in Daviess Circuit Court — Joe Castlen and Jay A. Wethington— signed an order Thursday saying they are disqualified to preside over the case. They cited state law that requires judges to step aside when they have had any association with the defendant to avoid any appearance of impropriety.

Castlen, who had been presiding over the case, said earlier this week that he might recuse himself because he has had dinner with Miles.

Kelly M. Easton, chief regional judge of the Green River Region in Elizabethtown, will assign a special judge to the case.

Miles, 76, was indicted Sept. 6 by a Daviess County grand jury on charges of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy and bribing a witness. A 29-year-old woman alleges that Miles sexually assaulted her at his home and that she has received death threats since then.

Miles, who is being represented by Louisville atttorneys Scott Cox and Rob Eggert, has pleaded not guilty. Barbara Whaley, an assistant state attorney general, is prosecuting the case.

Jack Brammer: (502) 227-1198, @BGPolitics

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